Fines for fish trafficking handed out

Illegal fish trafficking resulting in charges being laid proved to be costly for three area men who were issued hefty fines

Illegal fish trafficking resulting in charges being laid last spring have proved costly for three area men who were issued hefty fines in Rimbey provincial court Jan. 4.

Brendan Cox, spokesperson for Alberta Justice and the Solicitor General, said Frank Hofer received a $2,000 fine and a three-year sport fishing license ban for buying fish harvested illegally.

George Hofer was handed two $3,500 fines after being convicted of two counts of buying fish harvested illegally. He also was banned from having a sport fishing license for five years.

Elias Hofer received fines of $2,000 and $5,000 for knowingly buying fish that were harvested illegally. His fishing license was revoked for five years.

The men are among 27 individuals from Pigeon Lake, Wetaskiwin, Camrose, Rimbey and Edmonton who were charged with 72 counts under the Fisheries (Alberta) Act. The men were fined after being charged with forming an underground network of illegal buyers and sellers who worked together to avoid detection by authorities.

Anyone with information that would assist in solving any fish or wildlife crime in Alberta is asked to contact a local Alberta government Fish and Wildlife Enforcement office or call the toll-free Report A Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800. The Report A Poacher line is open 24 hours. Anyone who provides information can remain anonymous and could qualify for a reward.